Only Jewish day school in New Zealand capital closes

Just one Jewish school continues to operate in entire country

SYDNEY (JTA) – The only Jewish day school in New Zealand’s capital city has closed after 27 years.

The Moriah School in Wellington, which held a highly publicized project in 2008 to remember children murdered in the Holocaust, cited a lack of resources as its reason for shutting down. The school held its last graduation on Friday.

In August, the board said it had “no option” but to close the school, which had fewer than 20 pupils aged 5 to 13. A Hebrew school will still operate, as will the kindergarten, the board said.

Moriah was founded in 1985 and at its peak had nearly 60 students.

Its 2008 project amassed 1.5 million buttons — each one representing a child murdered during the Holocaust — and took more than two years to complete. It attracted the attention of Prime Minister John Key, the son of a Jewish refugee who escaped Austria on the eve of the Holocaust. The collection has been given to the Wellington Holocaust Research and Education Center.

Wellington is New Zealand’s second-largest Jewish community after Auckland, which is home to the majority of the country’s estimated 7,000 Jews, as well as its last Jewish school, Kadimah College.

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